Over the past five years, three birth centers have sprung up in Spingfield, offering women a more holistic alternative for maternal care.
A group of small cottage industries is blossoming in the glow of the renewed interest surrounding natural childbirth.
For as long as women have been giving birth, other women have been their to help them.
While the midwifery movement underscores the line of “women helping women”, we are seeing a rise in the request for “support staff” who come alongside and help women and their families during the childbirth process.
Their goal is comfort, and they do everything from helping to provide back pressure, to massages and breath coaching during labor. They also help guide the family in the best way to help, steering worried spouses and mothers into the best roles for the mom’s comfort (even if that means chasing everyone away).
The other important role they serve is as a secondary “advisory” role in helping the family with medical decisions. In the stress of the moment it can be difficult to make decisions and to voice requests. The Doula acts as a an added voice of reason, and can play a vital role in helping the mother get the birth experience she dreamed of.
We’re starting to see an large influx of birth doulas in the Springfield area. Many of these are mothers with multi-generational familial involvement in home births. It’s not uncommon to find a mother and a daughter who are both serving as doulas or birth instructors.
The most experienced doulas are always in high demand and it can be difficult to get booked. However, they often have a list of other they trust and can refer you to.
This trend is flourishing on a track separate from the natural childbirth movement. While it certainly benefits from the holistic philosophy that birth is a moment to be celebrated and remembered, the photographers are also allowed in the hospital’s birthing rooms (provided there are no complications).
Sarah Carter is a local birth photographer who has enjoyed adding this skillset to her practice. A longtime practitioner of natural childbirth, herself, she enjoys being welcomed into family’s homes to capture this moment of happiness and new life.
To the uneducated, the concept sounds graphic and intrusive, but when you see the art that is plied by these women, you begin to appreciate their ability to capture the beauty and joy of the moment.
While these side industries are not a part of the next “multi-million dollar idea”, they offer an irreplaceable service in a format that simply cannot be mass-marketed. This is an extremely intimate environment, where the VIP experience is offered for minimal investment.
In a way, it is very similar to the day when it was normal for mothers to help other mothers give birth.
Maybe the way it should be.